Furniture Company Invests in Lean Principles

Lean Mfg Online

Furniture Company Invests in Lean Principles

How often do you see a  news article with a title like this? I find it exciting to see a news report about a U.S. company investing in its future by upgrading their facility. This is incredibly bold of them, especially in a down economy, when all you usually read in the business section is bad news!

Companies are starting to realize that many of their customer service issues can be traced back to their facility and production systems. The solution and capability to eliminate the root cause of their problem already exists inside their own facility. The solution is to train their employees to “work smarter, not force them to work harder!” They need some basic problem solving tools to allow them to improve their workplace. In doing this, the management team will see the manufacturing systems run efficiently and become more effective at servicing their customer’s needs. This is a win-win scenario for the company and their customers because they will be able to continue to generate revenues to support their employees and business interests.

Here is a great article I found in the Rome Sentinel about Harden Furniture Co. that has invested $3 million to improve their facility and production capabilities. Enjoy the article!

Furniture Company Invests in Lean Principles

Furniture Company Invests in Lean Principles - Lean Mfg Online
Furniture Company Invests in Lean Principles

The Harden Furniture Co. plans to invest as much as $3 million to install state-of-the-art woodworking equipment and engineering software later this year as it upgrades its facility and introduces additional lean manufacturing practices.

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The upgrade is expected to occur in several phases. The first phase will be operational prior to the end of 2012 and will include a “batch one” manufacturing cell supported by a new Holtzer CNC machining center and replacement of the roughmill with a Weinig optimizing system.

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Harden’s manufacturing facility utilizes a batch process for most woodworking operations and the modernization will convert several product lines to a lean manufacturing/just-in-time process. The anticipated benefits include shorter production lead times, an increased ability to customize existing designs and reduced operating costs. In addition, Harden has begun offering the Cabinetmaker’s Cherry Collection in solid black walnut as the new process will allow consumers to choose alternate hardwoods.

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The introduction of additional hardwoods compliments what has been “a unique and popular Harden quality — the opportunity to select from over 40 distinctive finishes,” the company noted. The conversion of Harden’s cabinetmaking operation to “batch one” expands custom capabilities and aligns all manufacturing processes with a more efficient lean model.

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According to President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Harden, the investment will “establish Harden as one of the few furnishings manufacturers world-wide that has ‘one off’ and true custom capabilities.”

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Harden Furniture manufactures high-end residential and commercial furnishings.

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Read the original article…

I take my hat off to the management team at Harden Furniture Co. because when a furniture company invests in lean principles to improve their production system, this is not an everyday occurrence.  It was inspiring and enjoyable to read about their $3 million investment to upgrade their facility.

They are continuing to follow a strong tradition of innovation amidst a world economy that is fraught with doubt and angst for most business owners and management teams. They are implementing lean principles to help them stay ahead, when so many are falling behind in the belief that they will catch up when the economy improves. This is based on false hope, and successful companies take on the challenges and learn from them.

Please share this article with your friends and work colleagues.

If you enjoyed reading this article: Furniture Company Invests in Lean Principles

You will also enjoy this article: Lean Manufacturing Innovation Award Winner

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Lean Manufacturing Innovation Award Winner

Lean Manufacturing Innovation Award Winner

There Europeans have created a new lean manufacturing award to recognize companies that are demonstrating their use of innovation to create growth and jobs. The first lean manufacturing innovation award winner is Brillopak, which is a packaging company in the UK. Yes, that’s right, a packaging company. Lean principles can and are being applied and integrated into all types of business environments. Here is a snippet from the original article:

Lean Manufacturing Innovation Award Winner

Lean Manufacturing Innovation Award Winner
Lean Manufacturing Innovation Award Winner
Brillopak is among the first recipients of a new award for companies which are using innovation to create growth and jobs.

The company was chosen as an inaugural winner of the Medway Innovation Voucher, towards the development of its new lean production control package. This is being developed to support small and medium manufacturers, using Brillopak’s new COMPACT C Series and robot cell packing and palletising solutions.

Brillopak Director David Jahn said: “We are very proud to have received this award, which supports our vision of building systems that have a demonstrable impact on efficiency through effective deployment of lean methodologies.

We are confident that the system will support our clients in eliminating bottlenecks across the end of line at a tactical level…[read more]

Today everyone is talking about jobs and how to create more of them. However, what’s actually happening is lots of talk and not much action. Apparently, with the current political standoff here in the US, ignoring the situation is the best way forward, well until after the election in November, when we all get to see how things will play out.

I am not sure how you feel about it, but I think the folks in Congress might do well to take notice what is happening across the pond to see how the Europeans are dealing with the same issues. They are identifying a lean manufacturing innovation award winner, while the politicians here in the US are doing nothing. 

I would prefer to see more action and less political theater here in the US Congress. Weight and tell us what you think? Leave a comment below and share this article with your friends and colleagues. 

If you enjoyed reading this article: Lean Manufacturing Innovation Award Winner

You will enjoy reading this one too: Is Your Business Staisfying Customer Needs?

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Is Your Business Satisfying Customer Needs?

Lean Manufacturing Metrics

The purpose of this article is to get you to ask this question: “Is your business satisfying customer needs?” This seems like a pretty straightforward question. However, it is not always that easy to get a straight-forward answer. Most business owners will tell you that they are “definitely satisfying their customer needs.” How do they know for sure? Are they telling the truth? Or, are they in denial?

The follow-up question will always throw them if you dare to ask it: “Where’s your metrics to prove it.” BAM…WHAM…KAPOW! A this point in the conversation you’re either going to be shown the door, or experience an awkward silence followed by rapid change of subject. It seems perfectly normal to ask an executive management team to share their customer satisfaction feedback or their on-time delivery metrics to demonstrate their ability to fulfill their customer needs. In fact, you would think they would be extremely excited to let you see them! If they are truly satisfying their customer needs, they are consistently delivering their products or services to them on time, every time, right?

Lean Manufacturing Metrics

You see the problem with asking the question is that the answer you receive is not always grounded in reality; it’s often based on perception.  So, does this means they are telling lies or being dishonest? No, of course not, they are simply seeing things from a different perspective, and that is all fine and dandy. What is based on reality? How do we get to see the real picture? Well, that would be simply a matter of listening to what your customers are saying about your products and services. A business owner or management team can fool themselves, and many do but they cannot fool their customers, well not for long anyway! You see, in the 21st century, a customer has many choices and they can and will change their supplier at any time if they are unhappy with them.

So, back to the original question: can your business satisfy customer needs, or not? I have created a simple flow chart that will guide you through an easy  process to discover what and how you are dealing with the current situation in your company when it comes to customer needs. Take a look at the graphic to see the customer needs algorithm. Click here to see a larger size.

Answer the first question and then follow the path to see where it leads you. Now, you get the chance to become a character in your own version of Alice in Wonderland as you follow the white rabbit. However, try to keep a tight grip on reality as you enter and go deeper into the rabbit hole.

Can Your Business Satisfy Your Customer needs?
Can Your Business Satisfy Your Customer needs?

If you answer the first question honestly, it will clearly identify whether your company’s has the ability to satisfy customer needs or not, and it will tell you what action to take. On the other hand, if you’re in denial, or unaware of the reality of your current situation, it will lead you to where you believe your company is today, and it will tell you what action to take.  Enjoy your journey down the rabbit hole!

Make sure you read my next post to get the next installment about the way companies deal with this issue and try to answer the questions: Is your business satisfying customer needs? If you enjoyed this article please share it with your friends and colleagues by email, or the social media buttons below.

If you enjoyed reading this article: Is Your Business Satisfying Customer Needs?

You will enjoy reading this article too: Does Lean Management Increase Profits?

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